Socioeconomic Position and Suicidal Ideation: Going Beyond Education, Occupation and Income

  • Gloria Macassa Mid-Sweden University
  • Niclas Olofsson Center for Public Health, Västernorrland County Council, Hänosand, Sweden
  • Joaquim J.F. Soares Department of Health Sciences, Mid-Sweden University
  • Nader Ahmadi


Objective: Suicidal ideation have been found to be a strong predictor of suicide attempt as well as completed suicide. Currently, there is  an on-going debate on the impact of the recent economic recession on mental health outcomes, including suicide behaviours. Northern Sweden continues to bear the consequences of the recent recession which started in 2008.Thus, this study investigates differentials in twelve months suicidal ideation by socio-economic position (SEP) among economically active persons residing in Västernorland County. In addition, the study discusses the importance of employment status as a fourth measure of socio-economic position in the context of economic hardship.


 Method: The study uses cross-sectional data from the 2010 Västernorrland in 2010 “Health on Equal Terms Survey”, which consisted of 5,050 in economically active persons aged 16-65 years. Descriptive and weighted regression analyses were performed and results are presented as OR´s (with 95% confidence intervals).


Results: Suicidal ideation was statistically significantly associated with SEP as measured by education, occupation, income and employment status. Respondents who had primary education, were manual workers, or had lower income and  were out of work had odds ratios of 2.19 (CI 1.51-3.16); 2.95 (CI 2.04-4.27); 3.40 (CI 2.41-4.79) and 3.24 (CI 2.84-4.21), respectively. Controlling for demographic, socio-economic and health-related variables only eliminated the statistical significance for education and income.


Conclusion: SEP as measured by education, occupation, income and employment was associated with suicide ideation in Västernorrland County. Also, employment status was found to be an important measure of SEP within the context of economic recession. There is a need for social protective policies for the less privileged in the population at all times, but especially during times of economic crises.

Author Biography

Nader Ahmadi

Department of Social Work and Psychology, University of Gävle, Gävle, Sweden


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